Oundle has a strong track record in the annual Top of the Bench competition and the high-achievement of our pupils continues. An Oundle team made up of Tom Ruane (F), Doireann Hockel (L), Rupert O’Brien (L) and Sasha Wakeford (Sn) won their regional heats by a significant margin. They went on to battle it out in the National Finals against over thirty British and international schools and were awarded joint fourth place in the 2021 competition.

Run by the Royal Society of Chemistry, the annual competition allows participating schools to enter one team of four pupils (comprising pupils from Years 9 to 11) to put their practical and teamwork skills to the test.

Despite the challenges and constraints of running virtually what is usually a hands-on and practical competition, the RSC were able to rely on the extra help of the schools’ teachers, and focused on testing students on their data handling and practical analysis. Four separate modules had to be completed during the allocated time window, with a designated collaboration space for discussion and teamwork, a key emphasis of the competition. The competition aims to inspire the next generation of talented scientists to consider further education and careers with chemistry.